Implied Consent in South Carolina

Alcohol Testing Comes With Driving Privileges

When you apply for and receive a driver’s license in South Carolina, you automatically consent to a future blood, breath or urine alcohol test, such as a breathalyzer, if requested by law enforcement. The act of holding a driver’s license is implied consent in South Carolina.

The primary purpose of implied consent is to permit law enforcement to request that a blood sample be taken by qualified medical personnel in the event that a person is incoherent, unconscious or dead. Implied consent grants this authority without legal risk of violating personal rights.

However, if the person arrested for the suspicion of driving under the influence is conscious and coherent and able to provide consent, the officer must offer that person a breathalyzer test — to be performed within two hours of arrest — as well as inform them of their right to refuse. (For suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs, the same stipulation applies for a urine test.)

Refusing a Breathalyzer and Other Rights

The arresting officer is tasked with a list of rights you must be informed of throughout your DUI arrest that spin-off from the implied consent law.

The officer legally must inform you that:

  • You have the right to refuse a breathalyzer or other test.
  • Your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for six months, effective immediately, if you refuse to provide breath, blood or urine samples. (The arresting officer must also issue a notice of suspension to you, marking the effective suspension date as the alleged violation date.)
  • A refusal to take a breathalzyer, etc. may be used against him or her in court.
  • You can request an administrative hearing within 30 days of your arrest, known as an “implied consent” hearing.

Learn more about challenging DUI testing in South Carolina.(SC Code Sec. 56-5-2950)